After two narrow victories to kick off our season, we face our first proper test to determine whether or not things have changed at The Emirates. We visit Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday night as we look to try not to lose 5-1/4-0 like we usually do to show the world we are making progress.
Liverpool managed to avert a global disaster just a few weeks ago by quashing any attempts by Tottenham to win the Champions League final, something for which we will be eternally grateful, but its time to put this appreciation to one side and go and try and get something out of this huge game.
In some rare good news for a change, both Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka have returned to full training after a Mesut Oz-Illness, and a Granit bad Bhaka. We still have to deal with our five long term absentees with Rob Holding on to a knee problem. Holding is now in full training with the first team and should be fit to continue his comeback against Everton on Friday night for the U23s.
Emile Smith Rowe, new signing Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin and Dinos Mavropanos also remain out but are all on their way back to action hopefully in the next few weeks.
We have not won at Anfield since 2012, where Poldi and Santi scored in a 2-0 victory, and ever since then the Scousers have piled on the misery in this fixture.
Our last few defeats at Anfield have been pretty convincing as well, with Liverpool running out winners 5-1, 4-0 and 3-1, meaning by the law of averages this game should finish 6-0, but fingers crossed it doesn’t and one make who could at least help to make it 6-5, would be our £72m signing Nicolas Pepe.
Unai Emery said in this weeks’ press conference:
“The most important thing is, like a person, to help him and his family to feel comfortable here. Now he is three weeks into working here with us. He didn’t do the pre-season here but he’s progressively feeling better. For example, in the first match, he played 15 minutes in Newcastle, then he played 45 minutes against Burnley.
I think his individual performances are progressively getting better. For Saturday, he is maybe ready to have more minutes. I am going to decide on Friday, but really his progress has been positive and has been good for the team and for him. The most important piece of the adaptation is to help him to feel easy and be comfortable with us…”
Come on Arsenal, let’s buck that trend at Anfield tomorrow night!